Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

August 24, 2011 -

Wired's Game | Life taps into the legal expertise of attorney Mark Methenitis to determine if GameStop might face legal action for removing OnLive coupons from PC retail boxed copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Naturally there may be some unforeseen issues at play here that could affect whether Square Enix could sue the top games retailer - like if both companies have an existing agreement or contract that bars Square Enix from including deals from GameStop's direct competitors. That's doubtful considering that GameStop allows games that include Steamworks or the Steam Client on disc.  Steam is clearly a direct competitor to GameStop's Impulse digital distribution platform. Here's what Methenitis thinks about that:

"Existing contracts between GameStop and Square may have barred this kind of promotion, and so GameStop may actually be justified in their action if Square is in breach of some promotion/marketing agreement."

Methenitis also said that GameStop's actions related to OnLive probably did not violate consumers' rights, and even though consumers could sue the company for "deceptive trade practices or fraudulent advertising," they wouldn't have much of a case because the coupon wasn't advertised on the game's packaging.

Methenitis closes by saying that some of GameStop’s policies might have violated Federal Trade Commission policy. One in particular is an employee "rental plan" that lets employees rent brand new games. The problem is that these "rented titles" are brought back to the store and sold as "new" products for full price. This practice has been going on for several years and was the subject of a class action lawsuit against the company which inevitably failed.

Game|Life contacted the Federal Trade Commission for comment and got the following response:

"The FTC Act prohibits unfair and deceptive business practices," an FTC representative told Wired.com. "So if a company misrepresents that a product is new and doesn’t make adequate disclosures that it has been open or used, then that could be considered deceptive."

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Comments

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

so its perfectly legal for them to sell opened, altered, and possibly damaged products at full price?

or did he skip that part?

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

I guess as long as they are not altering known/advertised features, it is probably legal.

Though now I am wondering what kind of case would exist if GameStop had altered something deeper then a cupon... say, the game itself.. remove a few levels and require you to buy alternate versions from their content group.

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

Yes. It is perfectly legal. "New" does not necessarily constitute "sealed". And what the article doesn't mention is that Gamestop does not permit employees from checking out PC titles, due to DRM concerns.

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

What about DRM concerns on console games? Rarer (for now), but still there. See: Borderlands GotY edition.

 

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

If you were talking about the OLD version of the GOTY, then Gamestop employees simply don't use the code. The new versions of GOTY either have the DLC built into the game disc (PS3) or on a seperate disc (Xbox 360).

If you knew how crappy Gamestop treats all their employees that are below an ASM, you probably wouldn't complain about the check-out program. Here's a few fun facts to help.

Fun fact #1: The single most common question asked of any Gamestop employee is "Is (insert game name here) any good? Gamestop employees are obviously expected to own every single game ever released.

Fun fact #2: Despite popular opinion, Gamestop employees do NOT get to play games before their street date. The exception to this, obviously, are the stupid-ass managers who break street date simply because they think they can and that nobody will find out.

Fun fact #2.5: They always find out, sooner or later, and are subsequently fired.

Fun fact #3 (More of a suggestion): If you're really that concerned about getting a sealed copy of a game, then ask for one. If they don't have one, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. I used to be one of those of the mind that a game is somehow tainted if someone else had played it before me. It wasn't until AFTER I had worked for Gamestop that I realized how much of a pretentious douchebag I was.

Fun fact #4 (As stated in the shoutbox): Many Gamestop stores have shrink wrap machines. If all it took to get you to shut up about it is shrink wrap the game before it's sold to you, you'd be none the wiser.

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

All the more reason not to buy new or used above 30$.


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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Matthew WilsonI think he was talking about wanting a real one.05/29/2015 - 7:19pm
Andrew EisenKarp - A real Conker game or are you content with that Project Spark thing?05/29/2015 - 7:18pm
Matthew Wilson if they are smart, they hire Hideo Kojima, give him his own studio, and rebew the partnership with Guillermo del Toro.05/29/2015 - 7:04pm
MattsworknameReally hope silent hills gets made, it really deserves to be released, and konami is being stupid riht now so if MS wants to take it, more power to them.05/29/2015 - 6:32pm
Wonderkarp80% complete? Well. If there was ever a reason to make me buy a Xbone, that would be it. That and Conker05/29/2015 - 5:24pm
Matthew Wilsonif true, a very smart move.05/29/2015 - 5:24pm
Adam802Huge if true: http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/05/29/silent-hills-reportedly-an-xbox-one-exclusive?abthid=5568e08e738dff6a4f00002305/29/2015 - 5:19pm
WonderkarpRegion locking annoys me. I cant tell you how many Japanese games I want to to play but need to own another console and learn japanese to play them!05/29/2015 - 5:13pm
MattsworknameThis kinda thing is why I have a very negitive view on things like region locking and games not being released universially. it creates problems like this where the game gets reduced as a result .05/29/2015 - 4:41pm
Andrew EisenNeither will the 3DS. Wait, WHAT?! http://www.siliconera.com/2015/05/28/samurai-warriors-chronicles-3-does-not-include-nintendo-costumes-in-the-west/05/29/2015 - 4:33pm
Andrew EisenSamurai Warriors Chronicles 3 will not include the Nintendo-themed costumes when it hits the Vita in NA and EU next month.05/29/2015 - 4:32pm
Wonderkarpthe brilliance of the Wii U is they could offer 2 games in 1 package. Tablet/pro controller controls, and then a flipped game with WiiMote. Add a master quest too it too05/29/2015 - 4:18pm
Andrew EisenTwilight Princess would be my favorite if it didn't have a few notable design issues. But yeah, those few things aside, it absolutely trumps Ocarina in most every way.05/29/2015 - 4:11pm
WonderkarpTwilight Princess is my favorite Zelda. Its a legit sequal to Ocarina, enhancing everything Ocarina had, and I hope there's a HD Remaster with gamecube controls. Make it Nintendur!05/29/2015 - 4:08pm
E. Zachary KnightI borrowed Wario World, Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. So I am going to try to play at least one of them this weekend.05/29/2015 - 3:52pm
MattsworknameIm gonna be splittingmy time between blood borne, the witcher 3, tokiden, and some pc games.05/29/2015 - 3:34pm
DocMelonheadIn fact, if the whole campaign is to make fun of Zoe Quinn, Leigh Alexander, and Brianna Wu, then I'm not going to stop them.05/29/2015 - 2:30pm
Wonderkarp@andrew game parody idea. 50 shapes of grey05/29/2015 - 2:30pm
DocMelonheadBut I highly doubt that they encourage "death threats"; even they know that gone too far.05/29/2015 - 2:29pm
Wonderkarpi mean, i could create a a random twitter, tweet #blacklivesmatter along with terrinle racist death threats to somebody and be and youd claim the tag was a harrasment campaign by that logic. no. its a bigger issue than a random hashtag05/29/2015 - 2:28pm
 

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